(KCPW News) West Valley City introduced an initiative today encouraging its residents to learn English. West Valley Mayor Mike Winder says his city is the most diverse in Utah. He says 45 percent are ethnic minorities, and some are undocumented immigrants. However, Winder says he’ll rely on the state and federal government to develop concrete solutions for that issue.
“On the local level, the city level, the big problem is the language barrier. When neighbors can’t communicate with neighbors.” He says. “When residents can’t understand our city ordinances and when teachers can’t communicate with parents at parent, teacher conferences. And so, we see an opportunity here to encourage people who live in our city to learn English and learn it quicker.”
The initiative helps point non-English speaking residents to adult English classes, many of which also offer skill-building workshops like computer training, clothing alterations and music classes.
Kimberly Jackson coordinates the Granite Peaks program at Granger High School. She had about 180 students registered last term, and hopes more people will become aware of the program through this initiative.
“We have great instructors that are highly qualified to teach English and also help them really develop an opportunity for themselves to participate more effectively in the community.” Jackson says.
The initiative also encourages businesses and housing providers to use English signs, advertisements, promotions and menus.